Swift Special Exhibit
Swift has helped establish the connection between supernovas and long duration GRBs, and it is studying the relationship between stars that end their lifes as a GRB-generating supernovae and those that end in ordinary supernovae. Swift discovered that when the mildly-relativistic supernova shockwave breaks out from the star it produces a short pulse of X-rays. The observed X-ray pulse provided a precise "time stamp" for the explosion and provides an estimate of the star's radius just as it explodes.
Swift observations of hundreds of supernovas sample the rest-frame UV/X-ray emission. Observations with Swift's UVOT provide a unique tool to study the variations of UV-optical color within the group of Type Ia SNe that are used to measure cosmological distances.
Published: September 2016
Text Reviewed: September 2018